What the feck is fracking?

Tankwa Karoo wild flowers

The Beautiful Karoo - 2b destroyed by fracking? PIC:Martin Heigan (Flickr)

an aside on the interconnectedness of social media …

  • last week, I donated tweets to greenpeace (they get to tweet on my account)
  • fracking caught my attention in the last 24 hours, so I wrote an article
  • as i’m about to publish this post, I see that greenpeace tweeted about fracking on my account

howzat for synergy? social media rocks …

So …  lots of action on SA twitter about something called “fracking”. Also, lots of assumptions that people might know what on earth it is. I didn’t.  So I did a bit of googling.

Fracking is slang for “Hydraulic Fracturing” – extracting natural gas through a process of injecting a solution of water and chemicals, under high pressure, into an underground well.

The public stink about fracking is largely about the danger to our groundwater supplies. The chemicals used in fracking can leak into underground water supplies that obviously affect our drinking water, among other things. Typically, mining companies won’t reveal what chemicals are used in fracking, leaving us wondering what they have to hide. Despite plenty of fracking in the US, supposedly environmental impact and other health (human and animal) impacts have yet to be fully determined.

The current hullabaloo is happening in the Karoo, where Shell is proposing to conduct fracking in pursuit of natural gas. The Karoo farmers are totally opposed. Not only because of potential water contamination – and anyone whose been to the beautiful Karoo will know how precious water is there – but also because of the ecological sensitivity of the area.

Fracking is not regulated in SA and so Shell’s move is getting a lot of concerned citizens knickers in a twist. It appears that Shell is unmoved, holding press conferences to allay public fears (Daily Maverick).

Want to read more, get involved, or see the movie? See below.

Incidentally, I do wish this group had created a “page” instead of a group. This is a common mistake, particularly among nonprofits or causes. A page is preferable because it would come up in my live stream, instead of getting lots of emails (which are a lot easier to ignore/delete than facebook stream). And of course pages are searchable and indexed on google and therefore get a lot more traffic, profile and attention.